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Making Sense 2013



Making Sense‘ is a fertile and expanding collective of artists and thinkers who assemble to create a vital, international forum that crosses between modes of thinking and doing. We organise annual colloquia. This year our event involves and stimulates The Six Senses of Art. It will take place on Friday, July 12th in New York, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Robert Storr is our keynote speaker. Renowned as former curator of MoMA, Dean of the Yale School of Art, and the first American to curate the Venice Biennale, he is said to be “one of the most influential Americans in the art world.” To complement him, master painter Frank O’Cain of the Art Students League will give us a glimpse into his art practice, based on the techniques of Rembrandt and Titian, to experiment with \’visual music\’ and the interrelation between the different senses. This event is sure to be a tremendous experience. Please be a part of it!

Spaces are limited.For more information, see our website here.


The full programme:

‘The Six Senses of Art’
Making Sense
Fifth Annual Colloquium
Friday, July 12, 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

9:30 – 9:40      Introduction, welcome

9:40 – 10:30     Keynote speech, Robert Storr: Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense

When Arthur Rimbaud – the subject of any number of theoretically dense critical texts – spoke of his method he described it as “le dérèglement de tous les sens” (“the derangement of all the senses).” He did not say “le deregelement de l’esprit” “(the derangement of the mind or intellect)” because unlike his Romantic precursors he did not believe that Reason was the enemy of Imagination, Thought  the enemy of Feeling – or, as a corollary, that Madness was the cure for excessive Rationality. Rather he believed that the senses held the keys to understanding of all kinds and the active, systematic disturbance of their normal, passive functions opened the doors to higher levels of engagement with the world – much as Aldous Huxley later wrote of the “doors of perception.” We live in a period when Rimbaud is the celebrated subject of study by many who nevertheless frankly distrust much of what he stood for, avoid the invitation to be “absolutely modern” that he issued and staunchly resist the invitation to think with the senses and feel with the mind.

Robert Storr was reappointed Dean of the Yale School of Art for a second five-year period beginning July 2011 and was the director of the Venice Biennale in 2007. From 1990 to 2002 Storr was Curator, becoming Senior Curator, in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. He is considered to be one of the most influential Americans in the art world.

10:30 – 10:50   Ira Goldberg: Giving Voice to Perception and Tangibility to Ideas: Why We Still Do It (Art, that is)

The language of visual expression has been evolving since the dawn of civilization. It is a living testament to the inexhaustible power of art and human creativity. Art gives voice to perception,
tangibility to ideas, substance to intelligence. With the evolution of art shaped by the world around us and with artists confronting the accelerating advancement of technology and communication, the pencil,  paintbrush, hammer and chisel, clay armature, and etching needle still express artists’ perception as contemporaneously as ever.

Ira Goldberg started at the Art Students League in 1979 as a student of the renowned Robert Beverly Hale.  He became an administrator in 1982 and was appointed Executive Director in 2001.  His own art practice and deep rapport with the artists who make up the League’s world-renowned faculty uniquely qualify him to serve as a guardian of the League’s rich history.

10:50 – 11:20   Silya Kiese: The Power Of The Unseen

What gives Art a distinct essence of value? Does the essence of Art take place when the artist catches sight of an image from within? Creating Art is using divine consciousness, or the ‘sixth sense,’ that derives from the human construct of the sub-consciousness.

Silya Kiese teaches studio art in sculpture and ‘experimental writing and artmaking’ at the Art Students League of New York and has curated various contemporary exhibitions in New York City, including annual Concourse shows for students at the League and herself. Ms. Kiese’s installations and life-size sculptures are exhibited internationally.

11:20 – 11:25   Break

11:25 – 11:55   Leon Tan: Making and Unmaking Sense

Making and Unmaking Sense is a presentation by Leon Tan and Virlani Hallberg based on the screening of excerpts from Receding Triangular Square, in which habitual relations between moving image and sound are disrupted in order to facilitate seeing and hearing anew.

Leon Tan is an art history professor, cultural critic, and psychoanalyst based in Hong Kong. Virlani Hallberg is an artist and filmmaker based in Berlin and Stockholm. Receding Triangular Square is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Tan and Hallberg commissioned for the 2012 Taipei Biennial.

11:55 – 12:15   Roundtable: Smell, Taste, and Touch

John and Annette Lee will pass around objects from the renowned New England Allandale Farm to stimulate the olfactory, gustatory, and tactile senses. An open discussion is to follow.

John Lee has managed the 200+ year-old Allandale Farm, the oldest in Boston, for the past 30 years as a crucible for sustainable agriculture.  Annette Lee, lead teacher of the Farm, has been an educator for over 40 years and a leader in preserving biodiversity and the Italian Slow Food movement.  Together, they create a living classroom, patronize the arts through sculpture fests, and promote deeper connections with the earth through farm-to-table dinners, foraging walks, and other adventures.

12:15 – 1:15    Lunch

1:15 – 2:05     Keynote speech, Frank O’Cain: Painting the Music, Finding the Light

Abstract painting is much like visual music, and the painter’s job is to move the soul by conducting the eye, using light. For a painting to have light, it must contain all the essential elements: (a) overlapping planes; (b) repetition; (c) tempering of volume; and (d) tension, as we know from the theoretical works of Romare Bearden, Robert Holte, and Hans Hoffmann, among others. It must also have psychological, theoretical, and material integrity, which bring one closer to art’s universal principles–which give a work the power to last through millennia, beyond our fashions and folly. A painting cannot live on gesture alone, just as it cannot stand on concept alone; it takes the mastery of all aspects, which takes time. To stay on course, and to avoid the devious ways we devise to avoid doing the work, or to advertise how doing less is actually “better”, the serious painter must raise one’s own standards. Trusting the senses is the beginning of a long and nowadays lonely journey of being true to one’s craft, which thereby becomes the crux of civilization.

Frank O’Cain continues the lineage that started with Titian, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Hans Hofmann, and Vaclav Vytlacil, the last under whom he was a student. He is a revered teacher and master painter, known for his uncompromising adherence to principle. He has an international, devoted following for his integrity and mastery of his craft.

2:05 – 3:05     2 concurrent workshops:

1. Terri Suess, Birgit Matzerath, and SYREN Modern Dance: Music, Dance, Draw!

This is a workshop featuring selections from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, with dancers and drawers responding to the music, while the audience will be invited to create pieces that draw on the images of the music and the movement of the dance.

Birgit Matzerath is a musician, teacher, writer, and composer, who has for more than 20 years taught at community music schools around Cologne, before relocating to the US in 2002. Terri Suess is a writer, educator, and artist, who has made her living as a professional communicator. SYREN Modern Dance is a New York-based company founded by Lynn Peterson and Kate St. Amand; using live music and collaborations with visual artists, they bring vivid work to audiences from New York to Paris with a focus on the beauty, tenderness, and power.

2. Jack Becker: Collaborative Labyrinth

In this workshop, participants will help make a giant floor labyrinth and experiment walking it with and without noise-canceling headphones to compare its healing effects; a labyrinth can be a walking meditation, or a place to pose a question on which you would like to have insight.

Jack Becker, an artist with experience in theater and the visual arts, is the Founder and Executive Director of Forecast Public Art, a 35-year-old nonprofit based in St. Paul, Minnesota, which publishes the internationalPublic Art Review, provides grants, and connects the ideas and energies of artists with the needs and opportunities of communities.

3:05 – 3:35     Navjot Altaf: Kokerenge / Cock-like walk

Kokerenge is a performance by the Muria community of Bastar, India, which takes place after harvest to appease ‘Lingopen’ (head of all deities), who symbolizes the earth. This has stimulated the presenter’s belief in how the arts enhance the coming together of senses and how the body and mind interact and collaborate.

Navjot Altaf, based in Mumbai and Bastar, India, has been practicing art since 1972; her video, installations, and site-specific works emerge out of an extended dialogical interaction and alters the conventional relationship between the viewer and the work of art.

3:35 – 3:40     Break

3:40 – 4:10     Michael Delacruz (featuring Áine O’Dwyer, Hasib Nabizadah, and Syren Modern Dance): Atossa’s Lament

Atossa’s Lament will be a performative adaptation of Aeschylus’ Persae, combining video, musical performance, and extemporaneous dance movement, centering on the grief, despair, and the individual perspective of the Persian queen Atossa following their defeat by the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis.

Michael Delacruz is a visual arts researcher and PhD Candidate at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, currently based in Kabul, Afghanistan, and a former military intelligence officer and policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense. The performance will include contributions from songwriter/musician Áine O’Dwyer, filmmaker Hasib Nabizadah, and interpretive movement from members of the SYREN Modern Dance ensemble.

4:10 – 4:35     Roundtable

4:35 – 5:00     Closing remarks

Artist in residence: Janice Perry: Presence

Janice Perry will create a performance-based artwork that responds to the colloquium itself, through video, audio, and/or still digital imaging, and/or light, incorporating taste, smell, touch, sight/site, and sound. Janice Perry tours internationally with solo stage work and collaborative performance/installation and teaches identity performance at the University of Vermont, leads groups of emerging and established artists in creating new multi-media work around the world, and offers work for radio, television, print, film festivals, and exhibitions in the USA and Europe.

Dancer in residence: Rachel Tess: Sensory Knowledge and Sensory-Driven Movement Practices

Rachel Tess will perform a solo generated from sensory-driven movement practices cultivated and expanded in response to the residency–a narrative of shifting possibilities tailored specifically for the colloquium at the Metropolitan Museum. Rachel Tess is a choreographer and dancer based in Stockholm, Sweden, and Portland, Oregon, whose artistic practice focuses on the effects of kinesthetic empathy in confined spaces and somatic practices.

Philosophers in residence: Florian Forestier and Rita Peritore

Florian Forestier is Doctor of Philosophy and writer who, influenced by the works of Jean-Luc Nancy and Marc Richir, has focused his research on the question of ‘sense’ and is the author of several philosophical works in international reviews, in addition to novels and poetry.  Rita Peritore, a PhD research student at Sorbonne University, has focused on the philosophy of image and appearance with an original approach to the dynamic of making sense of photographic image and its importance in the phenomenology of perception.

Artist Group in Residence: Prometheus: Making Sense of Process

Initially gathering in New York City since 1997, Prometheus is an international group of artists who since 2009 have engaged in the struggle to: address a fundamental human need; revive the notion of recognizable quality and mastery that once formed the basis of great cultures; cultivate what is authentic and profound in both the practice and discourse of art; create a discourse between art theorists and artists that is based on visual principles; and build connections between like-minded artists and supporters that will become powerful enough to evolve the current art world to a higher standard.

5:15 – 6:15     Caroline Wendling: Walk, in Central Park

Caroline Wendling invites you for a 60-minute walk around Central Park, proposing to bring you to the forefront your six senses; with the experience of walking, the passage of time and the movement of our body in space intensify the senses and the meandering of the mind. Caroline Wendling, originally from France, is a visual artist trained at the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Strasbourg, France and at Edinburgh College of Art.

For any further information, do not hesitate to get in touch with Lorna Collins.